Users become experts in national project
If you have a disability, you experience inaccessibility. Does that make you well-suited to become an expert on how to achieve accessibility? That’s the basic idea of the innovation project Users as Experts, now entering its next phase.
Funka is part of a consortium that has received financing to develop and test a web accessibility training course. The course will be aimed specifically at persons with disabilities, using their experiences of inaccessibility as a starting point for the development of expertise. Finally, their “user expertise” will be put to the test in real-life assignments provided by public sector bodies.
The project will strengthen the skills and confidence of the participants while also giving our public sector clients new insights, says Emil Gejrot, researcher at Funka. That’s why this work is so important to us.
The EU Web Accessibility Directive is a key driver behind the project, not least because its requirements will apply to all public sector websites from September 2020. This looming deadline has heightened demand for web accessibility expertise – a competency that remains in precious short supply. At the same time, disabled web users experience inaccessibility every day, yet few lessons are being drawn from these experiences.
The Users as Experts project wants to find uses for these experiences. Aside from the web accessibility course, a mechanism to provide feedback on accessibility problems – a feature required by the directive – will be developed. The feedback mechanism will help both users and website owners understand and use the directive and its national implementations.
Furuboda folk high school is the project leader. They’re pleased that the project will continue.
We’re happy to have the opportunity to create a course together with experts and stakeholders, says Helena Jonsson, project manager at Furuboda. This will bring us closer to our goal of inclusion and independence for our students, since it builds on their circumstances while promoting web accessibility at different levels of society.
Getting to improve the web together with real users is incredibly valuable to us, since we so rarely get to meet them, says Ann-Louise Svensson, webmaster at Mölndal, one of the participating municipalities.
The project’s first year will be devoted to developing course material and the feedback mechanism. During the second year, the course will be trialled with web users with disabilities. At the end of their training, the new “user experts” will get to put their skills to the test in practice assignments provided by the participating public sector bodies. The project will start in September 2020.
Financing: Vinnova (SE)
Project period: 2020 - 2022
Consortium: Furuboda (project leader), Funka, The Association for the Welfare of the Blind, IAAP Nordic, City of Gothenburg, City of Malmö, City of Mölndal and Mjölby municipality.
Budget: 350 000 EURO
People with disabilities in Sweden can now apply to become “user experts” in web accessibility. In cooperation with the folk high school Furuboda, and with funding from the innovation agency Vinnova, Funka has developed a ground-breaking training course.